Friday, December 9, 2011

New Poll - WELS lay members and teachers on NIV 2011

Our thanks to all the WELS pastors who voted in this week's poll on the NIV 2011. Now we're asking the laity and teachers of the WELS to weigh in. Pastors, please sit this one out.

For all our non-WELS readers, we're also interested in your thoughts on Bible translations! You are encouraged to leave a comment at the bottom of this post (still no anonymous comments, though). And in days to come look for a poll that's open to everyone.

19 comments:

Gregory L. Jackson said...

The New NIV is an atrocity.

Anonymous said...

No one should accept a version of the Bible that requires a handbook to point out the errors in it. I am appalled that WELS would even consider such a translation.

-Rhonda Martinez

Pastor Spencer said...

Excellent point, Rhonda!

In my humble opinion, to accept the NNIV and then have to put out a "handbook" to "explain" it would be a total capitulation of the "Sola Scriptura" bedrock of the Reformation. We would be admitting that in the final analysis the Roman Church was correct in that only the official church and its teachers and leaders could correctly interpret and explain the Holy Scriptures for the poor ignorant laity. What a huge defeat for Dr. Luther and the brave men who stood with him against the Papacy and its ecclesiastical machine! May this never happen in the WELS!

Pastor Spencer

LutherRocks said...

Because these translations come from theologians who believe in a limited atonement, the chief article of faith that the reformers risked life and limb over would be lost. As Pastor Rydecki pointed out in an earlier post, Christ as our Righteousness through faith by the Grace of God is disappearing verse by verse with each ensuing translation. I believe the visible church is racing to universalism.

Pastor Spencer, one of your brothers of the cloth has already spoken in such a way as you have warned against here.

Joe

PCXIAN said...

Why are the questions in the poll you pose to pastors and laypersons/teachers different concerning the adoption of the NNIV? If both pastors and layperson/ teachers use it as a daily reference and textbook, should not the questions concerning the use of the NNIV in your poll be the same?

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Paul C.,

Because the questions directed toward the pastors were not about their private devotional use, but their use of the translation in their parishes, and their willingness to purchase NPH materials for their congregations. The pastors will end up making many of these decisions based on their understanding of the strength or weakness of the translation.

Anonymous said...

As a WELS lay member, I can't help but feel that those taking your "poll" are just participating in your band wagon. It is quite similar to the hooligans on Jackson's website, but the poll doesn't really show anything. Nixon once addressed the nation as a "silent majority" and that's the WELS right now. They are content to trust their leaders, and the men of the translation committee can be trusted. They don't want to obscure God's word. Also, most of them are men called to teach in our worker training schools, if we question their judgment on the translation then we should be wondering whether they're teaching orthodox doctrine to their students.

-Seth Enius

Pastor Spencer said...

Seth,

Thank you for your comment. I'll try to be brief.

As for the "band wagon" - you're here aren't you? Obviously, you're not in agreement with us on this point. I assume you voted in the poll. So not everyone participating is on our band wagon, eh?

You say the majority of WELS members are "silent" - that's begs the question "Why?" and "Is this a good thing?" Why would they want to be silent about the matter of Bible translations? If they support the Committee, as you seem to believe should be the case, then why not say so? If they don't, why not say that? If they haven't decided, that's fine too, why not simply say so?

You suggest that this majority is "content to trust their leaders" - but do you know that for a fact? Certainly, there may be other reasons for their silence, right?

And finally, as far as trust goes, I'm sure you are not suggesting that Christians may never in good conscience question the judgment and teaching of those they Call into their schools? If this were not done in the past we would all still be in the Roman Church, my friend! The fact that a man has a Divine Call to teach in our college or seminary most certainly does not and should not ever mean that he is above questioning. Besides the Biblical mandate to "test the spirits," questioning teachers is good for them also. I know I appreciate tough questions from my Church Council and Bible classes.

Again, thank you for your comments. I'm glad you're reading Intrepid Lutherans now and then, even if you don't always agree with us.

God bless!

Pastor Spencer

Anonymous said...

My feeling, in response to Seth's comments, are that the WELS has grown complacent. In a recent Forward in Christ article (December 2011), the premise of Principle #6 of "Evaluating Translations" by the chairman of the Translation Evaluation Committee was "We expect that the primary way in which most WELS people experience most of the Bible most of the time is by hearing it read in the context of the public worship service." If the brief time spent reading the Bible on Sunday morning is the primary exposure of our members to God's Word, then it is easy to see why the the adoption of a new Bible translation is a "non-issue" to so many. "Readability" is a nice and perhaps appropriate consideration, but the idea that there is little reading of God's Word outside of worship services should be a clear warning or our complacency within the WELS!

Vernon

Anonymous said...

Seth,
The Fourth Commandment is a two-way street. Yes, I owe trust to my God-appointed leaders. However, they need to continue to be trust-worthy. Shall we discuss the twice-spent $2 million dollars from a few years back? Where are the savings from the amalgamation of Northwestern and DMLC? Don't even get me started on UOJ.....

Scott E. Jungen

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

Thanks Vernon -- yes, I read that, too. Normally, my instinct is to just throw the FiCL away, but I consider it my duty, so usually force myself to take the 15 minutes or so it requires to read and absorb the material written in it. I was mightily disappointed, but not really surprised, to learn that rather than the objective process of didactic reading, studying, hearing and meditating upon what the Scriptures actually say, the expectation, and, as it turns out, the main criterion for choosing a new Bible translation among us in the WELS, is that Christians experience the Bible -- and through such experience, one would presume, directly absorb Scripture's meaning (bypassing the difficult process of being taught to understand what it precisely says in order to determine its meaning). This on its own is very similar to Existentialism (Heidegger/Bultmann), though it smacks of post-Modernism, given the social context in which such "experience" takes place. Some might recognize a bit of pietistic anti-intellectualism in such statements. I recognize all of this quite well, having thought I left it all behind when I rejected Evangelicalism and became a confessional Lutheran many years ago. I've since learned otherwise -- more and more, it seems to permeate the speech patterns and proclivities toward Church practice of a disturbing number among the laity and clergy of our Synod, and this is just more evidence of it. I began noticing this about ten years ago, as I was coming out of my "WELS is perfect" euphoria, and began to actually observe and analyze what was going on, and continues to go on, around me. Even then, I immediately began inquiring, in some cases, talking personally to those who were teaching such things -- all of which was a complete waste of time. Laymen are by definition wrong about everything -- that's why they need teachers and pastors, after all, and that's why these political positions exist in the organization of Synod, and are impenetrable by the laity. Nevertheless, it's clear that such ideas exist at the highest levels of leadership among us, and have for some time. What's a layman to do? Answer: What he is convinced as a matter of conscience is the right thing to do, to speak according to the doctrine he has been taught and confesses -- the doctrine of the apostles -- and against anything he's equally convinced threatens it If in the process it becomes clear that others don't share his confession, then it is clear that confessional division exists.

Continued in next comment...

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

...Continued from previous comment.

And that is the point of this blog. For true confessional Lutheran unity in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Intrepid Lutherans has been in existence since June of 2010. If it is not clear by now that division exists, that we do not enjoy confessional Unity, and that therefore such a call for "true confessional unity" is necessary among us, then either people are complacent, in a state of denial of the obvious, are confusing political unity with confessional unity, or fearful that exposing lack of the latter will disrupt the former. The former is required only to support an organization (which Synod is struggling to maintain). The latter, defined in Synod President Mark Schroeder's 2009 address to the Synod in Convention as unity in doctrine and practice, is necessary for Church Fellowship:

"our Synod boldly and without qualification or hesitation, upholds the doctrine as articulated in the Confessions and is committed to reflecting those doctrinal beliefs in our practice... Lutherans have recognized the importance of articulating not only what we believe as Christians, but what distinguishes Lutheran belief and practice from that of other Christian churches that have departed from scriptural truth." (23'45" ff)

Quoting Synod President Johannes Bading from 1861, Schroeder also states in his address that

"[Bading] encouraged the Synod to, 'sacrifice blood, life, limb and suffer all rather than depart one hair's breadth from the truth we have learned.'" (27'05" ff)

and describes such as

"the ongoing battle of the Church Militant... each generation must recognize this struggle as its own, and engage in it zealously... When orthodoxy is assumed, that is when orthodoxy is lost" (28'00" ff)


We at Intrepid Lutherans, if we ever did, no longer "assume it," and our examination of the situation has rousted us out of any complacency we may have had, to join the battle that has always been that of the Church Militant: to hold on the pure Truth of God's Word, and to join with only those holding to that specific Truth in proclaiming it to the World.

Anonymous said...

Seth does go to a logical conclusion -
"Also, most of them are men called to teach in our worker training schools, if we question their judgment on the translation then we should be wondering whether they're teaching orthodox doctrine to their students."

But I would agree with Pastor Spencer -
"The fact that a man has a Divine Call to teach in our college or seminary most certainly does not and should not ever mean that he is above questioning. Besides the Biblical mandate to "test the spirits," questioning teachers is good for them also. I know I appreciate tough questions from my Church Council and Bible classes."

All Called Workers should appreciate the tough questions. It should be encouraged nay welcomed throughout all levels of the Synod. A tough or pointed question, a testing of what has been said, asked from a proper spirit, is a help not a hinderance to the ministry and the called worker. It shows engagement on the part of the asking party (which is what we want) and keeps the called worker sharp in regards to doctrine.

This Website lays out the issues facing WELS. The issues are dealt with respectively without vitroil in a manner which would conform with being done "decently and in order." I wish every Called Worker and every layman would visit this site and engage in the conversation, ask and answer the pointed questions, not to make a point for its own sake but in order to resolve the issues faced by the WELS so we may move forward "In True Confessional Unity."


Lee Liermann

LutherRocks said...

"...to hold on the pure Truth of God's Word, and to join with only those holding to that specific Truth in proclaiming it to the World."

Excellent post Mr. Lindee. Maybe at some point China Partners will be addressed here.

Joe

Anonymous said...

As I engage in discussion with fellow WELS members on the topic of the 2011 NIV, I am reminded of and frequently use the words of Martin Luther that a faithful WELS friend shared with me recently:

"The great difference between doctrine and life is obvious, even as the difference between heaven and earth. Life may be unclean, sinful, and inconsistent; but doctrine must be pure, holy, sound, unchanging ... not a tittle or letter may be omitted, however much life may fail to meet the requirements of doctrine. This is so because doctrine is God's Word, and God's truth alone, whereas life is partly our own doing.... God will have patience with man's moral failings and imperfections and forgive them. But He cannot, will not, and shall not tolerate a man's altering or abolishing doctrine itself. For doctrine involves His exalted, divine Majesty itself" (WA, 30 111, 343 f.)

If as WELS Lutherans we still see God's Word in the same light as Martin Luther did, then as one WELS pastor told me, the decision regarding the 2011 NIV is a "no brainer".

Anonymous said...

I can't fault you for your zealous fight, nor do I wish to do so. Mostly, I just wonder what you would do if the NIV2011 is adopted after you have written such strong statements. Do you think that if it were selected that the spirit of orthodoxy has moved on from most the WELS?

-Seth Enius

Anonymous said...

Seth,

I appreaciate your words, and will respond to your question, even if it was intended for someone else.
I don't think orthodoxy at the WELS will be determined by the moment of decision regarding the 2011 NIV. It's already clear that a wide range of views exist within the WELS regarding the 2011 NIV, even between the pastors of the WELS. It's a matter of record from reports and essays that exist on WELS.net that some pastors feel it has serious issues that make it an inappropriate translation, while others feel it is perfectly fine. For me at least, the question of orthodoxy is raised before the moment of such a decision regarding the 2011 NIV, and revolves around manny issues and topics beyond just the 2011 NIV (see for example, the recent post on the CGM topic).

Vernon

John said...

I am a member of an LCMS congregation, formerly a member of an ELS congregation.

My comment is more of a question: In the event that WELS rejects the ESV, is it then, also rejecting The Lutheran Study Bible (CPH) and the Lutheran notes, including those contributed by those holding membership in WELS and ELS?

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

John,

No, that's not how it works. It's not a matter of rejecting the ESV. It's simply a matter of choosing a translation for WELS publications. If the ESV is not chosen, it doesn't signify a rejection of either the ESV as a bad translation, or of TLSB.

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